Saturday, 7 January 2012

Tanti auguri!

No snow to report, in fact it's been a (relatively) 'warm' winter. These are some of the lovely trees in the Boboli Gardens on a clear morning this week. One of the entrances to the gardens is a 30 second walk from my apartment and I can go in for free now that I have a residency of Florence (last year I bought a pass - it's normally 9 euro a visit, which tends to be a good thing as it deters some of the masses who otherwise might pop in for a jaunty). This part of the gardens is a new discovery as I usually head up the hill where there's a magnificent outlook to the west. However if you head in the other direction there's a significant area that's flat, full of beautifully designed open spaces with statues and water features as well as almost bush-like tracks that positively ooze with oxygenated fresh air. There's plenty of invisible but chirpy birds and once I even spied a squirrel which was pretty thrilling since there's a distinct lack of wildlife of any kind in Florence (no bugs, spiders, lizards or anything in the house and pretty much only pigeons outside of it). Since the gardens close at 4.30 in winter I've been taking advantage of being on holidays... if only one could bottle that air! (Which I say because if it's not cars and buses and motorbikes stealing your oxygen (and your tranquility), it's the people who smoke ciggies which for all intents and purposes must surely be the vast majority of Italians). Hence the Pitti people or whoever came up with the Boboli Gardens are to be thanked from the bottom of the heart for the oasis they have created in a (granted beautiful but) somewhat frenetic city.

Christmas and New Year have come and gone in a festive blur. We had an entertaining Christmas feast at my church on the friday night before Christmas. I knew it was going to be a long night when there were 3 courses of the 7 course meal still to come by 10pm. Didn't quite manage to hold out for the entire meal but it was an experience I'm glad not to have missed. Christmas day I peddled over to spend my third ever northern hemisphere Christmas with Sarah and Andrew and the kids. We played games and ate an abundant roast dinner to warm the heart on a cold winters night. It's great spending Christmas with kids, they are so bouncy and bright eyed with new treasures and yummy food, it reminds me of the olden days when I was bright eyed and bouncy with the Christmas festivities.

I've been painting and drawing in the cosiness of my (very small) apartment and pottering and doing who-knows-what else but it's somehow filled the days. A few times my friend Susan and I have gone to the museums to draw and check out the masterpieces. Susan lent me the entire series of The Tudors (four seasons which I've just finished) about the reign of Henry VIII and his 6 wives. History is brought to life in all it's colour and lust for power... costumes, palaces, jewels, intrigue, betrayal, greed, passion and plenty of rolling heads. It's certainly expanded my vision of English royalty!. I've also taken up writing poetry again... will paste one of my poems in below... Tomorrow I'm taking myself off to the old city of Lucca since it's on my Must Do list and the forecast predicts another clear day. School goes back on Wednesday so a few more days left to sleep in before routine reclaims the days.

Love and hugs!
(You can check out latest pics here)...

The prodigal

There once were two sons of a man of some standing,
They may have lived not far from here.
The elder bowed knees to parental demanding
He laboured to please without cheer.

Son number two was exploding with life,
He dreamed dreams and forged a grand plot.
Snorting at every suggestion of wife,
He stood tall and announced he could not...

Dwell any longer in such sameness and drear,
When the whole world is there for the taking,
Allot me my share of all you hold dear,
I’ll be off in the morn upon waking.

With wealth and a whistle he made his depart,
And braved himself not to glance back,
At the man of some standing with a sob in his heart,
As his son disappeared down the track.

The metropolis beckoned with clutch wide and broad,
Leaving no stone unturned in his quest,
For every diversion that he could afford,
And any fair dame that impressed.

Here lies a true life of liberty from care,
He mused with amusement arising,
Well after noon and without clue of where,
The way he had chosen a prizing.

Then one day he realised, it came as a blow,
He’d squandered his fortune entirely.
He was wanton and wanting employment and so,
Went in to make an inquiry.

He worked like a dog on a farm feeding swine,
Growing ill, only he to condemn,
The servants live grandly in the home that was mine,
Might father let me be one of them?

The road back was long but he kept up a pace
‘Til he nearly came to arrive,
The father espied him, oh the joy on his face,
It’s my son, my son is alive!

He ran to embrace him and kiss his hot brow,
Forgive me father I was wrong,
Make a feast! Bring fine clothes! Shh.. all will be well now,
Let’s celebrate! Rejoice with a song!

Older son ceased his work when he heard all the noise
Outraged at the sight of his brother
How dare you forgive that wretch and his ploys
Loving him above every other!

My son you are mine and I am yours
All I have for you here does abound,
But now we must celebrate, you see there’s great cause
My dead son, he was lost, now he’s found!

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